Autodesk digital twin technology

Digital Twins in Construction, Engineering & Architecture

For the AEC industry, a digital twin integrates real-time data from a built asset with its digital representation to create insights across the project lifecycle.

What is digital twin? (video: 4:25 min.)

What is digital twin for the AEC industry?

A digital twin in construction, engineering, and architecture is a dynamic, up-to-date replica of a physical asset or set of assets—whether it’s a building, a campus, a city, or a railway—that brings together design, construction, and real-time operational data. Digital twins simulate, predict, and inform decisions.


Download your e-book now

Learn the benefits and use cases of digital twin in the ebook Demystifying Digital Twin.

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Digital twin is transforming AEC

Owners and operators gain insights to continually improve building performance.

What are the benefits of digital twin?

Digital twins give multi-dimensional views into how an asset is designed and how it’s performing, including occupant behavior, use patterns, space utilization, and traffic patterns. A digital twin offers a means to test "what-if" scenarios, including the impact of design changes, weather disruptions, and security events. It collects substantial data under one environment.

3D drawing with cutaway view of buildings

How does digital twin work?

Digital twin works by integrating a building’s system, sensor, and utility meter data with intelligent multidimensional digital models. A true digital twin possesses the operational and behavioral awareness necessary to simulate, predict, and inform decisions based on real-world conditions.

BIM to digital twin (video: 42 sec.)

How do digital twins use BIM?

The BIM process incorporates data created during the planning and design phases. Digital twin extends data capture to the construction and operational phases of the asset—and can also inform planning and design for future projects.

Realizing the full promise of digital twin requires multidisciplinary models at the core and an integration of systems and data across workflows and between organizations. BIM is the most efficient path to the creation of an accurate, high-value digital twin.

Types of digital twins

Each type of digital twin requires a greater degree of maturity and digital transformation, offering increased value to your business.

  • Level 1: Descriptive twin

    The descriptive twin is a visual replica with live, editable design and construction data, including 3D models and BIM.

  • Level 2: Informative twin

    The informative twin uses increased integration with sensors and operations data for insights at any given time.

  • Level 3: Predictive twin

    The predictive twin captures real-time data, contextual data, and analytics to identify potential issues.

  • Level 4: Comprehensive twin 

    The comprehensive twin leverages advanced modeling and simulation for potential future scenarios as well as prescriptive analytics and recommendations. 

  • Level 5: Autonomous twin

    The autonomous twin has the ability to learn and make decisions through artificial intelligence, while using advanced algorithms for simulation and 3D visualization.

  • Making cities smarter

    See how cities can adapt to challenges and optimize city management through real-world context.

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  • Building together with Esri

    Combine spatial intelligence and building information modeling with Esri and Autodesk. 

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Try Autodesk Tandem for free

Create a real-time digital reflection of a building and harness the data created during a project to help customers achieve more efficient operations, lower their maintenance costs, and maximize the value of their investments.

A monitor display of Autodesk Tandem user interface showcasing the filters dashboard

Digital twin classes and resources

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Delivering BIM to owners with a digital twin

This talk will help you cut through the hype, so you understand the value of a digital twin and what is required to create one.

Digital twin for building owners

Watch this roundtable discussion to explore, define, and understand what digital twins mean for the building industry today.

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